PH among countries on track to hit COVID vaccination target
MANILA, Philippines—As global vaccination continues this year, many countries are on track to meet their targets on schedule but some are not.
The good news is that the Philippines is among those who are seen to hit their vaccination targets.
In October last year, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Independent Allocation of Vaccines Group (IAVG) released the Strategy to Achieve Global Covid-19 Vaccination by mid-2022.
The IAVG was established in 2020 to validate and assess vaccine allocations recommended by WHO’s and Gavi’s Joint Allocation Taskforce (JAT) of COVAX. It also served as an independent referee for needs-based allocations for COVAX vaccine rollout across the globe.
The IAVG-led strategy outlined three internationally coordinated time-bound vaccine coverage targets, taking into consideration vaccine supply constraints:
- 10 percent coverage in all countries by end of September 2021
- 40 percent coverage in all countries by end of December 2021
- 70 percent coverage in all countries by end of June 2022
The global COVID-19 vaccination strategy, according to IAVG, aims to “minimize deaths, severe disease, and overall disease burden, curtail the health system impact, fully resume socio-economic activity, and reduce the risk of new variants.”
“In the face of an evolving and increasingly transmissible virus, high population immunity is essential to achieve this goal, which means fully vaccinating at least 70% of the world’s population, accounting for most adults and adolescents and for the vast majority of those at risk of serious disease,” said IAVG.
“The interim coverage targets are needed to ensure an equitable pace of vaccine rollout globally and appropriate prioritization of vaccine for those at highest risk,” said IAVG.
In this article, INQUIRER.net will detail which countries have already met the current 70 percent coverage goal, which countries are on track to meet the goal, and which countries might not be able to comply.
On track to meet mid-2022 target
Our World in Data’s latest estimates, based on current coverage and the rate of new vaccinations over the past 14 days, showed that out of the countries included in their data, 34 were already on track to fully vaccinate 70 percent of their population.
Among these countries were the Philippines, as well as other Asian countries including Indonesia, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar, India, Nepal, Tajikistan, Iran, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain.
However, data from the Department of Health (DOH), Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), and the National Task Force Against COVID-19 (NTF) showed that the Philippines had already surpassed the 70 percent coverage goal.
According to the latest data from the National COVID-19 Vaccination Dashboard, at least 59,899,717 Filipinos have received complete doses of COVID vaccines in the country as of Feb. 4.
At least 60,659,350 were already partially vaccinated, while 8,011,994 have already received their booster dose. The government has so far administered 128,571,061 total doses since March 1, 2021.
Last month, the NTF announced that 70.60 percent of the nation’s target population, or over 54 million individuals, have been fully vaccinated against COVID.
On Jan. 13, the NTF said six regions in the country have already surpassed the 70-percent mark in terms of fully vaccinated individuals.
These are Metro Manila (109.07%), Cordillera Administrative Region (78.43%), Ilocos Region (78.17%), Cagayan Valley (74.93%), Central Luzon (75.74%) and CALABARZON (71.92%), according to the NTF.
The national government aims to fully vaccinate at least 77 million Filipinos in the first quarter of 2022 and inoculate 90 million by the end of the second quarter of the year.
The government recently said it aims to administer six million COVID-19 doses in the third national vaccination drive, dubbed Bayanihan, Bakunahan, set on Feb. 10 and 11.
Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said that at least 5.2 million minors between the ages of 12 to 17 years old were already fully vaccinated as of Dec. 31, 2021.
On the first day of the initial rollout of COVID vaccination for children aged 5 to 11, at least 9,784 children received their first dose, according to DOH.
This was despite hesitancy among some parents and groups against pediatric vaccination, citing claims, which had been debunked by science, of health and safety risks.
High-income countries get advantage
Some countries, based on the same data by Our World in Data, were seen to have fared better as they have successfully reached the 70 percent coverage goal several months before the deadline set by IAVG.
These countries included:
- United Arab Emirates (UAE): 93.74 percent of the population fully vaccinated
- Singapore: 88.45 percent
- South Korea: 86.07 percent
- China: 85.05 percent
- United Kingdom (UK): 71.28 percent
Felix Richter, data journalist at data consumer company Statista, noted that the number of high-income countries that have already surpassed the 70 percent milestone mirrors the ongoing gap in global vaccine distribution.
“As of January 26, 180 doses per 100 people have been administered in high and upper-middle-income countries, while only 96 and 14 doses per 100 people have been given in lower-middle and low-income countries, respectively,” said Richter in a separate Statista report.
“The latter figure, in particular, is striking, as it includes 650 million people that are effectively cut off from vaccine access,” he added.
Another report from Statista has pointed out that while some countries have fared better in terms of vaccination progress and available vaccine doses, some middle-income and lower-middle-income countries were still waiting for the delivery of huge volumes of vaccine doses from COVAX.
Citing data from the Unicef COVID-19 Vaccine Market Dashboard, as of Jan. 17, the following countries still have huge shares of undelivered COVID-19 vaccine doses allocated through COVAX:
- South Africa: 75 percent out of the 37.4 million doses allocated until March 2022
- Pakistan: 66 percent out of the 229.1 million doses allocated until March 2022
- Indonesia: 61 percent out of the 224.1 million doses allocated until March 2022
- Colombia: 56 percent out of the 26.9 million doses allocated until March 2022
- Ukraine: 48 percent out of the 15.5 million doses allocated until March 2022
- Nigeria: 45 percent out of the 99.1 million doses allocated until March 2022
- Philippines: 26 percent out of the 88.2 million doses allocated until March 2022
- Rwanda: 7 percent out of the 15.3 million doses allocated until March 2022
On trajectory to miss target
While some countries have already accomplished the 70 percent coverage target and some were almost near the target completion, some countries seemed to be on a trajectory to miss the goal by end of June this year.
At least 122 countries were on the list, including the majority of the countries in Africa, the United States (US), and Russia.
The IAVG noted that COVID vaccine supply issues, which continue to hinder the vaccination progress of several countries globally, could become a challenge in achieving a 70 percent coverage goal by mid-2022.
“In the forthcoming months, larger volumes of vaccine are expected to become available, but in most cases, the increase in volumes will create challenges in absorption capacity in resource-poor settings,” the IAVG said.
“This includes the capacity to receive, store, distribute, administer (due, for example, the lack of trained health personnel or vaccination centers), and to record vaccine use, including wastage,” the group added.
The IAVG also emphasized that widespread misinformation—which could result in vaccine hesitancy—will become another hurdle in achieving the target of 70% of total population coverage in all countries by mid-2022.
Looking back at past targets
The initial targets set by COVAX were to achieve 3 percent coverage and then 20 percent vaccine coverage through COVAX-secured doses by the end of 2021.
The targets were expanded globally following the release of WHO’s global COVID-19 strategy outline in October last year. These targets, however, included the figures from all sources of COVID-19 vaccine supply, not solely from COVAX.
However, the IAVG reported last December that none of the targets set for 2021—10 percent global coverage by end of September and 40 percent global coverage by end of December—have been met.
Data from the IAVG showed that the 10 percent coverage target by end of Sept. 2021 was not met by 56 countries, representing 20 percent of the global population.
At least 98 countries were not able to vaccinate 40 percent of their population by end of December. The IAVG attributed the failure in achieving the targets to severe vaccine supply constraints to COVAX, which persisted until the last quarter of 2021.
“An estimated 1.4 billion eligible people need to be urgently immunized, many of whom are in the highest risk groups for death and serious illness,” the IAVG said in a statement last Dec. 23.
“These gaps have been most pronounced in low-and lower-middle-income countries (LICs and LMICs), with 34 out of 89 Advanced Market Commitment (AMC) participants, representing the countries that are most dependent on COVAX to access COVID-19 vaccines, not achieving the 40% target,” it added.
To fully vaccinate 70 percent of the global population, at least 11 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines are needed. At least $50 billion is needed to meet the same target in low and lower-middle-income countries worldwide.
To make the current global COVID-19 vaccination target feasible, the IAVG recommended some priority actions, which required countries to:
- Establish updated national COVID vaccine targets and plans highlighting the dose requirements to guide manufacturing investment and vaccine redistribution and financial and programmatic resource needs to guide internal planning and external support.
- Monitor vaccine demand and uptake to rapidly adopt immunization services and ensure continuity of vaccine supplies.
- Commit to equitable distribution of vaccines.
- Revise national vaccination strategies, policies, and prioritization as needed to harness emerging evidence in order to maximize the impact of existing, modified, and new vaccines.
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